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Chickens in Our Garden: Building a Coop, Sourcing Chickens, Looking After Them and Encouraging them to Lay

Author:

Ann is interested in animals and nature. The correct treatment of animals is high on the list. Hens in the garden is her latest venture.

Chicken Coop

Chicken Coop

Arrival

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, for us it was the chickens. Three appeared with little warning last Saturday lunchtime. Don’t worry, they weren’t on the menu, it just happened that way.

But I’m telling the story backwards. Let’s rewind a few weeks.


From Smallholding to Somerset Garden

Once upon a time, my longtime partner Arthur had a smallholding, with chickens, ducks and geese. Later, we had two hens at his French longhouse where we spent many pleasant holidays. They were borrowed from a neighbour, housed with us during our times there, then went back over the wall to join their old friends; the system worked well.

Since the sale of that house he has wanted to have hens again.

Moving to our present home three years ago, much renovation was necessary, all done by Arthur. By means of a rest from that, a few weeks ago he built the coop which had been on his mind for so long.


Sourcing the Hens

We were talking to a neighbour about the coop. It transpired that he had a friend with some spare chickens, three of them at 19 months old. Although we only required two, we didn’t quibble. They were free to a good home.

Nothing was mentioned for a while, then our neighbour said,

‘Oh, the chickens will be with you tomorrow.’

Good job the coop was ready! Great excitement! So on the morrow they arrived. They settled immediately, seeming happy with their new home and muttering softly to themselves. I would love to know what they were saying,

“Not a bad pad, think we’ll have the feed over there, good roost, great nest box, easy access….”

We had no idea what to expect regarding colour, breed, look, or anything else. They are Sasso hens, a breed created in 1978 in Sabres, south-west France. They are often brown but can be several colours, known for providing good meat as well as being good layers.

Let’s look at the coop first, then I’ll tell you more about our lovely ladies.


Work in Progress

Roost, Branch and Swing

Roost, Branch and Swing

Criteria for the Coop

It had to be

  • sheltered
  • big enough for 3 or 4 hens
  • fox-proof

It had to have

  • a roof for protection but also to allow light
  • a roost with enough space for 4
  • food and drink facilities (mouse and rat-proof)
  • nest-boxes
  • easy access for collecting eggs
  • a pop hole for them to go in and out under supervision
  • a gate with latches inside and out

Shelter and Safety

For shelter, our hens’ residence was built between the brick garage and the wooden shed, backing onto a perimeter fence close to trees. The back required a wall along the boundary, built out of a fence panel. As foxes are numerous here and have a penchant for chicken, vertical foundations of stone-slab and wood have been laid deep beneath the fence panel, to make sure no animal can dig underneath to access the coop.

The roof is almost-clear box plastic, sloped towards the back so that water will run off into the natural irrigation drain next to our garden, also allowing plenty of light.


Roost

Pretty Maids all in a Row, on the Roost

Pretty Maids all in a Row, on the Roost

The roost sits diagonally across a back corner, providing maximum shelter and darkness at night. The ideal is 3-4” wide for their feet to be comfortable and must be long enough to accommodate the number of hens in the coop, unless you have more than one roost, but then it’s important to have them at the same height, with no other shelf higher, due to the natural pecking order. The dominant hen will want to be above the rest if given the opportunity and arguments can ensue.


Food and Water

Food is dispensed via a feeder, hung from a cross-piece so not touching the floor. Mice and rats would enjoy the food too so it must be away from their thieving mouths and paws! Seed is fed in from the top. A piece of wood, sloped diagonally downwards to the back of the structure, leaving just a little gap to a trough at the bottom, will ensure that the seed is dispensed at a sufficient quantity, but gradually. That way, the girls can be left for a few days if needs be and still have plenty to eat. We give them food scraps too. They love apple (NOT the pips, they are bad for them) and cauliflower stalk. Citrus fruit is a no-no so I left a few raspberries for them; they turned up their beaks and went to look for something else.

Water is available via a similar method. A large canister of water also hanging from a hook is filled, the water trickles into a gulley all the way around the base, again a little at a time to ensure it doesn’t overflow but allows them whatever they require.


Nest Boxes

The nest boxes have been positioned so that we can open a flap and access the eggs easily, without having to enter the coop. They have a ladder to reach the boxes which are lined with straw for warmth and comfort. Each box has a ‘dummy’ egg in it, to encourage the hens to lay. We already had a ceramic one but the other was made by whittling a small piece of wood - it doesn’t have to be artistic, just roughly oval as the hens aren’t fussy about the aesthetics; well, they haven’t complained anyway.


Stairway to Nest Box

Stairway to Nest Box

Pop-hole

To avoid us having to open the main gate to let them in and out, they will have a hinged section beside the water feed, secured with a latch. When we allow them out, they can go freely both ways whenever they like. Then when it’s time to go indoors, we will usher them in and close the flap.


Pop-hole Portculllis

Chicken Escape!

Chicken Escape!

Gate

The gate is the height of the coop, providing an easy way in and out for us. A bolt secures it from the outside and a hook and hasp are fixed inside so that the gate remains closed when we need the hens to stay indoors. There is a story attached to that which I found amusing but ‘he’ didn’t.

The day after they arrived there was just the bolt on the outside. I was showing our chickens to my grandsons, via FaceTime, and Arthur asked me to bolt the gate whilst he was inside the coop. I did so and continued chatting. Then I went indoors and was talking for a while. I didn’t hear the screams of imprisonment from outside, nor did the neighbours. It was colder that day and the house windows were shut. Somehow, Arthur managed to escape and came in to rebuke me - he was not a happy bunny!

The inside hook went on pretty quickly after that. I left it a while before I got him to laugh about it. Now I tell everyone!


Something to Do

A stump to jump to, a branch to investigate and ... a swing?!

A stump to jump to, a branch to investigate and ... a swing?!

Extra Care

It’s a good idea to add Mite Powder to the nests. When the hens sit the powder gets into the feathers and kills any unwanted guests. You can buy Layers’ Pellets too, a supplement to help them start laying.

We tried giving them a fat-ball, the sort made for wild birds in the garden. Boy, did they love that! It needs to be broken up so that they don’t fight over it. Generally though, our girls are genteel and don’t snatch when there’s plenty for all.

Apparently chickens also like to have something to think about, to work out. They like to play! The coop was therefore kitted out with a swing, an angled piece of wood from floor to wall and a short stump of wood to fly up to. We’ve taken out the swing for a while as it gets in the way of their flight to the roost. Things need re-arranging a little; shame they can’t tell us what’s best but we’re quick learners too.


Names

They say you shouldn’t give names to those you keep to provide food. We don’t have any intention of eating our hens; they are there to give us some eggs when they feel like it and to be a source of interest for us and for the children.

So they have names. One has a crazy hair-do; she’s called Punk. Another has small wispy feathers protruding in a haphazard fashion from her cheeks. She is Whiskers; original, eh? Punk and Whiskers are those who have laid. Punk provides blue-ish eggs, Whiskers has light brown ones.

The third hen is called Norma. She has no particular distinguishing features, a couple of black splashes in her feathers, and I remarked that she’s just a normal hen. She seems more refined. Well we couldn’t call her Normal, could we? That would imply the others were abnormal, apart from being a dull name. So we feminised the word to give her more respect.

Each one has a particular characteristic. Punk is nosey and bossy but rather elegant in her precise way. Whiskers mutters a lot and is the biggest. Norma just goes about her business as hens do.

Punk laid the first egg and Whiskers the second. They have kept to that routine each day since. I find it strange that there is any routine at all but maybe that is coincidental. However, we had two blue eggs today, so we think Norma has now joined in and Whiskers is having a day off!


Grandchildren's Input

The names allotted above are ours. The children have decided otherwise. So when they visit, Punk will be ‘Jemima’ (two youngest granddaughters’ choice), Whiskers will be ‘Snowy’ (the grandsons’ idea) and Norma will be whatever my 19 year-old granddaughter decides in the meantime! Maybe they will be ‘Jemima Punk’, ‘Snowy Whiskers’ and ‘….?…Norma’.


Jemima 'Punk'

Jemima 'Punk'

Snowy 'Whiskers'

Snowy 'Whiskers'

Norma

Norma

So.... the Chickens have Landed!

I’m writing this six days after they arrived. On Monday we had our first egg, laid on the floor and broken, followed by another egg laid in the nest box. They have used the box since and we have had two eggs a day! We didn’t expect any at all for a few days as chickens need time to settle into a new home. Either we are good keepers or they are exceptionally happy hens. Maybe it’s a combination! We are certainly happy owners.

They are a fascinating addition to our garden. We shall allow them out from tomorrow, to explore a wider area of grass and land. It should be fun watching them. I hope they get used to us handling them too, so that the children can do the same when they finally get to see them.

Up-date: 4th July 2020 - Our three ladies were let out of the coop for the first time. They thoroughly enjoyed a little wander round the garden, found lots of dandelion leaves and scratted about. Independence at last!


Keeping Birds in a Garden/Smallholding

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Ann Carr

Comments

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 17, 2020:

You're welcome Brenda. They are brilliant and so entertaining! Yes, they're great for the children.

Thank you for reading and leaving such a kind comment.

Keep safe & well.

Ann

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 17, 2020:

Ann,

I found this article to be quite enlightening.

I know absolutely nothing about chickens even though I live in a farm community.

I have always been a city gal ...or rather a village gal and now I live in a small town which does not allow chickens in the city limits.

It has been a big discussion here for the kids want to raise them for 4-H and usually a nice farmer will let the kids keep them at his place. What a town!

You have showed me alot about raising chickens. The closest I ever came to building anything was a catico for my kitty cats which I used chicken wire to begin with but it was difficult to bend so I switched to weld wire.

Looks like he built a great coop for your new family members.

I would say they are happy and going to reward you with lots of eggs.

Great learning experience for the children too.

Thanks for teaching me about chickens.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 16, 2020:

Thank you, Audrey. Love the names for your chickens! I used to like the Golden Girls. Aren't those fresh eggs delicious and a wonderful colour!

Good to see you. Stay safe.

Ann

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on October 15, 2020:

Ann, I just feed my four girls. Each chicken is named after the Golden Girls - Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Sophia. The minute they spot me they run to their door in anticipation of the yummy meal worm I serve them each day as a special treat.

Because we live in the forest their house is built like Fort Knox. It's been 2 years and so far no incidents. As you pointed out, these sweeties are entertaining and each one has their own personality.

Love this article and now I'm ready for some fresh, scrambled eggs!

Be well.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on October 04, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh, for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.

Ann

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 04, 2020:

Very detailed, informative and useful article.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 17, 2020:

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee: Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

Ann

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on July 16, 2020:

I love chickens....sound post....

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 15, 2020:

They are so entertaining, Chris. We wouldn't dare have a rooster as we have quite a few neighbours, all very nice but I don't think they'd appreciate the early morning reveille!

Just about to have scrambled eggs for lunch - wonderful dark orange yolks and yummy!

Thanks for the visit, Chris.

Ann

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 15, 2020:

Both of my sons just got new baby chicks. They grow so fast. We had them when the boys were growing up and enjoyed them very much. Our most interesting rooster was "Crazy Larry". During the daytime, he crowed about once every five seconds. He was small and thin. He darted from place to place like he truly had places to go, things to do, and hens to talk to.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 11, 2020:

Thank you, Peg! It's such a lot to think about; I'm glad my partner knew all about this already as I wouldn't have thought of half of it.

Emus must have been fun! I find them rather scary. I think chickens are fine as long as they have draught-free areas, especially at night and if they're well off the ground they are safe from the cold and predators. You can get heaters for the hen-house too!

Good to see you and thanks for commenting.

Ann

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 11, 2020:

How well-planned this hen house is! I admire the thoughtful placement of the feed and water to keep out those pesky mice and other visitors.

Years ago we raised emu and had to build shelters and feed barns and fenced areas for the birds. Have often thought of raising chickens but I worry so much about their comfort during the cold weather.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 10, 2020:

Wow, not what you expect when you go out to feed the chickens! We have barn owls round here but they tend to keep a little further inland.

Thanks for visiting and leaving your interesting story, Denise.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 09, 2020:

We had our coop about 100 yards away from the barn. One day I got up the feed the chickens and found a barn owl trapped in the coop with them. I still can't figure how she got in there. She frightened one of the chickens to death. Not a mark on her so it must have been fright that killed her. She scared me some too with those big yellow eyes staring at me when I went out there. I just opened the door and she waddled out and flew away to the barn. That only happened once. Once was enough.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 09, 2020:

Hello Nell! We enjoyed giving them names and so did the children. I think the false egg just reminds them what they're supposed to do; chickens aren't renowned for their super intelligence! Ours seem clever enough though so I think they are misjudged.

Thank you for your visit and comments.

Ann

Nell Rose from England on July 09, 2020:

I would love to have chickens, and their names made me laugh, so appropriate! I learned something new too. I never realized that you could put a false egg in to make them produce! great idea!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 09, 2020:

Sounds good....O I better wait a bit till 19 exits....enjoy one for me. Angels on the way. ps

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 09, 2020:

Thank you, Patricia. Haha! Yes, Arthur has had the dummy egg since he had his hens in Wales. We have plenty of eggs for an omelette now so pop in whenever you like!

Hugs.

Ann

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 08, 2020:

Very intetesting, Ann. IYou took me right along with you in this journey. When you said encouraging them I wondered if you would be standing outside the coop doing little chairs for them. But my question was answered when you said you put a dummy egg in the little box. How clever is that. And you have eggs awesome. Let me know when you have enough for an omelette and I'll be right over. Angels are headed your way this evening. Again, stay safe and well. ps

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 08, 2020:

Hello Denise. Sounds like fun. I think hens are quite stubborn and yours seemed to be in control while she took her month off!

Thanks for reading and for your interesting input.

Ann

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 08, 2020:

We have had hens, ducks, rabbits, goats, and rats. It is quite the experience but I found the hens fun as well. We had a dozen at one point but only started out with 4. One hen got "lost" for a month and managed to hatch 6 of her eggs. We don't know where she was hiding but it may have been under the house.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 08, 2020:

Thank you, Dora. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

We have to make sure they are happy. They are out for a couple of hours at least every day now, though of course they want to go where they're not allowed! Having had a bumper 3 eggs on Monday, we had none yesterday. However, two of them are in the nest boxes as I write this.

Ann

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 07, 2020:

Ann, I enjoy this very good read. The care you put into caring for the chickens speak positively about you and Arthur. I know that the grandchildren have a ball when they visit. Enjoy the eggs!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 07, 2020:

Hello Dolores! Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed this. What a shame you aren't allowed to have chickens. Yes, the eggs are delicious and they are such a lovely rich yellow. I'd send you some but they probably won't survive the journey!

Good to see you!

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 07, 2020:

Yes, Ruby, Audrey naming her chickens after the Golden Girls is great and the idea of teaching them to sing evokes an amazing image!

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for visiting; great to see you and I always appreciate you taking the time to read.

Ann

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on July 07, 2020:

Hi Ann - I enjoyed your article about creating a home for chickens. I've long wanted a few but zoning regulations forbid chickens. There is nothing more delicious than fresh eggs! I can dream can't I?

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 07, 2020:

This brought a BIG smile. The idea of naming your chickens after The Golden Girls is funny and sweet and teaching them to sing is a toot. Ha

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 07, 2020:

Thank you, Linda. Glad you enjoyed this.

I shall probably do an update now and then; they are currently exploring the garden and offering much entertainment. We're also getting them used to being handled, though I think they were beforehand as they are quite tame already.

I appreciate your visit.

Ann

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 06, 2020:

This is an interesting and enjoyable article, Ann. I'm glad to hear that you don't intend to eat your chickens. I hope you write about them again.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 06, 2020:

Hello Audrey. How lovely to see you today!

I remember the 'Golden Girls'. I'm sure hens have to be happy to lay eggs regularly and I'm thrilled that ours seem to be doing so as soon as they have.

I'm surprised at the range of a hen's oral repertoire so I'm sure you can teach them to sing! I bet it sounds wonderful.

Thank you for your visit.

Ann

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 06, 2020:

I love my chickens! I have four girls named after the "Golden Girls"... Blanch, Sophia, Dorothy, and Rose. They must be happy as they lay 4 eggs almost every day. I enjoy spending time with them and teaching them how to sing! :)

Great article!!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 05, 2020:

Hi Shauna! Glad you like this. Yes, he turns his hand to just about anything. The girls have just been out for the second time and I managed to pick one up (Punk) so they'll get more tame as time goes on.

We had an egg each today; they are a deep yellow and taste yummy - yes, definitely better than from the supermarket.

Hope all's well with you. Take care.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 05, 2020:

Hello, Mel! Thanks for the comments. That bantam probably felt hen-pecked.

It's fairly urban, though we are at the end of a cul-de-sac next to a group of willows so quite private and the chickens can't access any other garden. It helps to have done this before but still a learning curve in a smaller space.

Yes, don't tempt me! No, he's fine really, just panicked, poor old man!

Good to see you; thanks for popping in.

Ann

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 05, 2020:

I love this, Ann! Arthur certainly is a talented architect and carpenter. Your girls look happy and comfortable. Success for fowl and humans alike! Is it true that fresh eggs taste differently than those bought in the grocery store?

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on July 05, 2020:

I loved reading about your hens, Ann. I am sure they will be very happy in their new home with you. I have three hens now also (have had a lot more and roosters when we lived out of town.) I think they are great pets and there is the bonus of giving you eggs. The first of our girls is Brook and she is so tame she comes up to you and can be petted and picked up. She also is not shy of coming inside if they are out in the yard and the back door of the house is is left open. I am glad you are keeping them protected from foxes. When we first moved here we had ten hens and all but one were killed by stray dogs. Love the photos too.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on July 05, 2020:

I knew that the chickens would some day come home to roost for you, and it finally happened. Told you so. Anyhow, I wholeheartedly approve of urban chickens, although I'm not sure how urban it is where you are. It appeals to the reptilian brain part of me, when we used to swing from trees and interact with the other creatures in the forest.

Every once in a while when I am making my mail rounds, I come across attack chickens, but I have never been attacked by one. One house on my route had a six inch high bantam rooster with a girlfriend who was more than twice his size. I wonder about the logistics of that love affair.

Looks like you and yours have really done your homework, creating a safe and stable environment for your feathered family. Next time the man mouths up, just keep him locked in the coop to cool off.

Great work.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

What a lovely thing to say, Linda! Thank you.

Yes, it did take a lot of planning, very little of it mine. They are intelligent to a point but it's just that they like to be nosey and find things to do. I think I was being kind to them saying 'play'!

Yes, pecking order is a real thing and so is bird brain!

No, I wouldn't read an article about keeping chickens either (!) but I was so excited to get them and it was an education for me to see what goes into it. I greatly appreciate all of you who have bothered to read. You are a great bunch of friends.

Enjoy your weekend, Linda!

Ann

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 04, 2020:

There is a lot of planning (and love) in your chickens’ home. So, pecking order is a real thing? And, who knew that chickens like to play. That implies some level of intelligence, does it not? Normally I would not be drawn to an article about raising chickens, but since you wrote it I knew it would be delightful and you did not disappoint.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Well, thank you, Eric, for such kind words.

The feed dispenser is hung on a hook from a cross-beam, so that the actual seeds are about level with their necks for easy reach. It's far enough above the floor to prevent the rats getting in.

The pop-hole was finished today and the ladies have had their first outing - great fun!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Ann

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 04, 2020:

How exciting. That is really cool. That partner of yours has a great eye and you could feel the fun in getting it done. Those are some lucky birds. I wondered about the food (for rats) and how that was done. I get that part about a "foundation" to keep our diggers.

Would not have read a piece on this had you not written it. Your way with words is so easy and enjoyable to read.

I also like stories of pet adoption so that was nice spice of life.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Yes, manatita, good job it wasn't me doing all the hard work. It certainly wouldn't have looked the way it does!

That sounds great having a coop underneath the house. Thanks for the insight into some of your childhood. How lovely it is to do things with grandparents. I used to love visiting mine. Now I love visiting and welcoming my own grandchildren.

I appreciate your visit.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Thank you, bill! Glad this meets with your approval. They are continuing to give us two eggs a day so they are spoiling us too. Norma entertained us by rolling around having a dust bath this afternoon. Not as lady-like as I thought; quite funny!

Thank you and you're welcome.

Enjoy your weekend too, bill!

Ann

manatita44 from london on July 04, 2020:

Well, that felt like hard work and a welcome addition to the family. I like seeing the hens as three somehow. They seem to blend well.

I see you and the family are having fun giving them names. Interesting!

Yes, they laid their eggs a bit quick, I thought, but then again, perhaps it's for the good reasons that you mentioned. Hope your grandchildren have fun. I used to help my grandad a lot, as a young child growing up in the Caribbean. We had our coop beneath the house.

Some houses in my village stood on tall wooden and wall support with space beneath, rather like a garage here, I suppose. But they allowed for entry on either side and down the back as well. We did so many things beneath the house!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 04, 2020:

You don't need my help. You have everything covered quite nicely. Your ladies are quite lucky to have such a lavish spread. I have no doubt they will be quite happy there. Well done, Ann! Well done, Arthur!

Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for the tour and introductions.

bill

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Hello Glenis! Lovely to see you today.

It's just a simple coop but they need particular care as any animal does I suppose.

No planning necessary. Possibly if it was a huge shed and potentially for business. We are so pleased to have our own eggs!

I hope you are keeping safe and well.

Ann

Glen Rix from UK on July 04, 2020:

My goodness. I didn’t realise that there are so many considerations. Hope they are laying well. A newly laid egg is incomparable for taste.

P.S Did you need planning consent?

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Hello, Flourish! It's a shame you're not allowed to have chickens. I can understand people not wanting noisy cockerels but hens aren't very noisy. Maybe some people just don't look after them well and allow them to roam!

Thank you for your kind comments.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Hello, Pamela. Thank you for your comments.

Yes, the eggs just keep on coming and it appears all three are laying now so we are very lucky.

Lovely to see you today.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Thank you, Lorna, for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

My partner had geese for a few years and loved them. He'd have them here if we had room but that's not a possibility. They make good guards too!

Can't wait for the grandchildren to come. The youngest one (21 months) will be fascinated.

I appreciate your visit and your input, Lorna.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 04, 2020:

Thank you, Ruby. Oh, poor you having to cope with that. I've seen that on a farm, as a young girl, and it traumatised me for ages.

We're tucked into a quiet corner with lots of greenery so we're lucky to be able to provide them with a good environment.

Norma is a lady so I'm not surprised you like her best, because so are you!

Ann

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 03, 2020:

You take such good loving care of them of course they produce for you! This was very enjoyable to read, from the names to the details of building. I wish I were allowed to keep chickens. Our home owners association forbids it.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 03, 2020:

Ann, You had a good coop and the price was surely right for hens to lay fresh eggs. I like the names your gave them. I probably would have named them also. I hope your enjoy your freh eggs. It sounds good to me.

Lorna Lamon on July 03, 2020:

I can definitely recommend keeping hens Ann and if you are very brave - geese. Our hens live in the barn and even though they have a wonderful coop, decided it would be a much better idea to lay their eggs in the hay. It can take hours to find the eggs.

They are great little personalities and your grandchildren will have hours of fun with them. I am amazed your hens are laying already as it usually takes a little while for them to feel comfortable. It sounds as if they are very content and there is nothing quite like a free range egg. Heartwarming article which made me smile.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 03, 2020:

This was a real treat to read! Lucky chickens! My mama used to buy baby chickens and I loved them, then when they were ready to eat, I cried and went on the other side of the house and covered my ears when she killed them. After their heads were removed they would still jump around, that made it worse. I must admit that they tasted soo good. Your housing situation appears comfortable and and a fun place to live. My favorite is Norma, I like the swath of black feathers.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 03, 2020:

Thanks for reading JC. Glad you liked it.

Ann

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on July 03, 2020:

Haha....I love chicken stories. They are funny creatures. Too bad we eat them.